A professional counselor who offered "healthy coping" skills for couples, families and children was recently found dead in Washington after having allegedly shot and killed her 7-year-old twin daughters, then turning the gun on herself.
According to local police, 55-year-old Michele Boudreau Deegan, a marriage and family therapist in Bellingham, a city about an hour out of Seattle, had been allegedly involved in what they suspect was a custody dispute over her children. An unnamed resident at the multi-level building where the bodies were found reported finding his landlord and her two children deceased in an upstairs bedroom on Saturday, October 24.
Officials surmise Deegan's custody battle was the primary motive behind the murder-suicide, but are not currently releasing more information into the incident, pending final autopsy results and the completion of the investigation.
Making the killings more bizarre was the fact that Deegan's professional life was advertised as centered around a caring-based therapy model helping people navigate difficult relationships. Her personal website, where she goes by the name Dr. Michele Boudreau Angelis, stated that she had been working as a mental health professional in Washington since 1990, holding a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in professional counseling, as well as numerous certifications and state licenses related to her field.
"I work from an empowerment model. My goal is to teach clients new ways of perceiving their problem, healthy coping behaviors for responding to their problem, and healthy attitudes & communication skills for working with their families, partners, or work environment so they can make changes in their own life," she wrote on her site as a professional statement.
"I am cheering you on as you are considering to allow someone to partner with you on your journey," she continued. "There are many great therapists in our community and I am humbled to be able to stand amongst them as a supporter of freedom, hope, healing, acceptance and love. I am easy to talk to, non-judgmental, and compassionate; I always work from an empowerment and mutual respect model. I would be honored to walk with you."